Sunday, March 25, 2012

Noah's yochien graduation

Thursday, March 15th Noah graduated yochien. It would start at 9:30am. We arrived at the yochien around 9:10 am. Branden was at school. All of us parents and also the kids were in their sakura-gumi classroom. Parents were taking pics, video footage. Teachers were busy putting those red corsage type flowers on all the graduates. At around 9:25am, we all started to make our way upstairs to the hall where the actual graduation ceremony would be held. This pic was taken before Noah graduated.
Every child's picture was posted. Upstairs, us mother's and father's separated. The father's sat at the back. Again this is how it is at our yochien. I am sure different yochien's have different rules, but this is how it's done at ours. So the father's sat at the back. No grandparents or uncles, aunts or siblings allowed. Each seat for us mother's was in alphabetical order. So I found my/our last name and sat. The kids were still downstairs. They had told us all how to walk up, etc before the kids came into the room. Then it grew quiet, the kids were all lined up in the hall. The door slid opened and they came into the room 2 by 2. Noah entered the room, his eyes met mine and we both smiled. I was ready! Noah was ready! Two rows of kids, facing each other with a gap of space. They would call 3-4 kids and then 3-4 mothers. First names they called. When they called each name, the sensei read what she wrote about each child. Such as, Yukina chan, the sensei read aloud what she loved about her so much. Etc each child. So they first called, the first people and the 4th person to be called was Noah. Our last name is closer to the front of the alphabet. He stood and walked. And I stood and walked. I was standing behind Noah. Yukina-chan's mom was standing behind Yukina-chan. And then the other two. Sorry I was so in the moment and concentrating on my own child that I didn't really scan who was also standing. I'm human. : ) The encho sensei went to the first person and presented her with the diploma. The child then walked to the place where the other sensei rolled the diploma and put a red bow around it. Meanwhile she went to the next child and next. Then she went to Noah, the encho sensei presented Noah with his diploma, he bowed same as the others did, said thank you and went to the right where the Yuka-sensei was standing by to wrap it and tie a red bow tie around Noah's diploma. Then the kids came straight back, then they turned facing us mother's and bowed deeply and said, "thank you mama this is for you", keep in mind the video guy was video taping this, the camera man was taking pis of us. I wasn't crying. I smiled. I was happy. Us mother's deeply bowed in return and said, thank you. And we then sat down with diploma in our hands. I went up with the first row, the first set, and was relived for us ours was finished. We just got to sit quietly and watch the others get to enjoy this. Then the kids sang a few songs. The first 2 songs were lovely and again, not a tear did I cry. I was just so proud of Noah. And then we got to that last song. The sad one. Could be the words that got me. Or the way the kids sing that one special note in the chorus but yep, I was a goner with that last final song. Cried my eyeballs out for the final song. I cried very quietly, not a sound, just silent tears. but, yep, the final song made me cry. It was then done and over with. We went downstairs. I dried my eyes and I was ready for fun.
The first and hard part is trying to get a picture of the graduating class. If you are a mother or parent at all, you'll understand how hard it can be getting 2 kids to look at the camera at the same time. Imagine trying to get the whole class looking the same way. We had the camera man at the back and the cameraman's helper lady, I think you can see a pinch of her in this pic on the right, in her sneakers and black pants and gray sweatshirt. The photographer, must have so much patience. He said, everyone legs together please! Hold your diploma like this, sideways. Face the camera...look at me. Look this way. @_@ Nope wasn't happening. : ) I was feeling like...phew! At this point. The sad part was over and done I was now just sitting back wondering if this poor photographer would ever get all the kids looking the same way. : )
H in the back is holding his diploma totally horizontal. And meanwhile Noah's doing no better. : ) He's holding his completely straight up and down. The kid to the left of the encho sensei isn't looking at the camera. Branden's former sensei the Ueda sensei in the navy blue velvet dress to the left who will be the vice principal of the school this coming April isn't facing the camera either. And she also graduated this shcool herself.
And another outtake.
The helper helping our priest.
Okay quickly real quickly say cheese....oh wait see the kid to the right of the Yayoi sensei he's holding his diploma the opposite way. I tell ya our photographer has the patience of a saint! : )
Okay let's try this one more time kids! 1....2....3!
At this point, someone on the right needed to be refixed. : ) : ) So Noah took a break and just smiled and faced me. : )
At one point you have to feel sorry for the kids, because in fact they are kids. And they have been sitting there for an eternity. Trying very hard to be so good, sit oh so straight. Hold that diploma in the cool diploma case so good and so straight.
This is also very important to mention. When we came downstairs and exited the building some people were holding this sign! It at first freaked out the encho sensei and us and the encho sensei walked across the street to see who it was. It was our 1 year older class core members! Isn't that cool?! That was so amazing that these mother's not only made this sign, and came all the way to the school even though their kids graduated LAST year. 2011! But they came down to support us! And our kids. I found that to be such a sweet thing and kind thing! I did walk over there and bow and thanked them, as did many of us! I thought that rocked! And yes I'd like to do that for next years graduates also. The WHOLE time the kids were trying to take pics, these ladies held that sign. And even while us parents stood and took the parent group pics, they also stood and held that sign! We felt the love that day! Also, my friend Noriko, not only emailed me and Noah a congratulations on your graduation e-card the night before. For which I are a really good friend to me.: ) She only lives 2 houses down from this yochien so she drove by while us parents were all standing taking that group photo. She waved and I waved back. I was so happy she swung around the block to support us, support me like that. I do have very good friends and a support system in my life and I feel so blessed and lucky. : )
So by now, all the kids took their group photo and us parents also took our group photo. And now we had about 10-15 minutes of free time. This little boys mother. His name is Tomoki-kun. Anyway his mom walks over to Noboru and I. She says, "can my husband and I take a picture of Noah and our son? Our son likes Noah-kun so much, he's always going on about Noah-kun at our home", wow we had no idea. Yes, of course. So that's why they were both looking at his parents camera and not ours. Because they wanted that one special pic of the two of them together. : ) Noah really liked him also. : )
Awww, you know this duo! The two besties. Noah and Hikaru. : )
The gym teacher is also retiring from this yochien. He was also so genki and nice and fun.
Noah and Ryo-kun. See you at swim club kiddo. : )
And the lovely encho sensei and Noah. : )
We like you so much Yayoi-sensei! : )
Sera's dad, video taping Sera and Noah chasing each other. In this pic, Sera is chasing Noah! : )

Sera chasing H and Noah.
On the left hand of this pic, Noboru and his fishing pal. He keitei messaged Noboru with a congratulations email that morning, Noboru ditto-ed that. : ) They are good fishing pals.
Noah and Sera. I have an exact type of pic of Branden and Genki. And when I show it to Branden and Genki, they are like.....whhhhatttt? We were so small! And they LOL about it. Also, this is so funny.....we had planned Noboru and I and invited Hikaru first and then Sera. We wanted them to have a jump in mid air picture. Right at the entrance/exit of the school grounds. That way it showed....they were, exiting their yochien years and jumping right into the first grade. Sort of a cool pictured. And so there you will get the idea of the next few pics.
Good bye yochien years. With smiles on their faces. And no fears! Mayuko-san in her beautiful kimono saw and her daughter wanted to join in....the more the merrier!
And landing after that line. They made it! Woohoo kiddos! well done.
And one more try with their fellow classmate. Okay but H landed faster then the rest, take 3 is below, lol.
Got it! All mid air! This shot rocks! And you know how hard it is to capture all 4 jumping mid air. Quite hard, not as easy as you'd think. But I think we did an excellent job. I'm glad we took these types of pics!
The shaon kai members left first to go directly to the hall. Here it is! I think we did an amazing job. : ) Lots of hard work.
All done.

The tables came out so nice.
The schedule.
The goodie bags. Imagine the bags had to be picked and approved. the ballons had to be ordered online, the helium, cost was tough but we foudnthe cheapest way to buy that. It just all came together perfectly. each goodie bag labeled with each child's name. Since the gift inside were personalized,the umbrella.
The ark. recognize those elephants and penguins? ; ) ; ) The lions were elsewhere.
And the other side of goodie bags. Hi Noah-chan. He was playing with his friends before the shaon kai started.

Yeah, I think in the end it all came our pretty good.
Noah's ark.
Here's the boy who liked Noah so much again. Also in the background, Kouki's mom was wearing a beautiful kimono in yellow in the back.
Mayuko-san had a gorgeous kimono also. These yearbook ladies were impressed with the job us shaon kai mom's did. Which made us really happy.
Noah chit chatting and having a really good time with Sera and the Jogo-san's daughter.
The kids had a cute little warm kids meal. Omlette rice, karaage, fries, weiner/hot dog, fresh fruit, pudding and apple juice. Etc.
The encho sensei and staff sitting up front.
The sensei's sitting up in front of our penguin table.
The adults obento.
Noah digging right in.
Hikaru-kun and his lovely mom sitting at the same table as us.
Noah standing and talking with his 2 favorite ladies, the Yayoi sensei and the Yuka-sensei. The Yuka-sensei is retiring this year also, reason being she married last year. Lives in Narita now and she says the drive is just too far for the commute. And she wants to be a SAHM now. Understandable. H meanwhile manhandling the gym teacher, lol. That kid just makes me laugh. : )
One video message, was from the sensei who left last year after she got married and then preggers. She left a very nice message. The sensei's in the pic were touched as were the kids and us parents.
The gym teacher is so funny and he kept things light hearted and fun the entire time. He had called all the kids on the stage and had them start with taiso/exercise. That drew a laugh!
Then he had them do a dance.

Then he had the teachers get into it.
Go Yayoi-sensei...just wave your hands in the air, and wave em' like you just don't care! ; )

Each child got a candy lei.
The Yayoi-sensei was then presented with a book. The yearbook ladies were so happily surprised by the book. Nobody had any idea. You know it sort of makes everything all worth it at times like these. She sat down and read the book, all the kids gathered around her one last time as she read the story for them.

The parents were so surprised about the book and the fact it had every child's name it, they stood and as you can see by this picture they were video taping and taking pics of the entire thing. This book idea was a home run. Everone loved this! Especially the Yayoi sensei.
Then each child handed her 1 tulip each.
Then the slideshow of the kids started. I was stuck deciding should I video tape it with my digi cam or should I take a photo. Keep in mind Noboru was video taping it for our own memories with the digi camcorder. So, I chose to take a pic instead. It showed 1 pic of the children each young and one pic now. This was Noah's young pic. The entire hall cute, how beautiful, you could hear a roar of Noah-kun's. The video was so cool and nicely done. I should have video taped this. Gah. Oh well, we have it on the family camcorder at least.
The final presentation of the last presents to everyone. Noah gave a present to the secretary/helper jack of all trades lady in the office.
The final word from the encho sensei. The REAL final word from her since she's retiring.
The Yayoi's final word to her class. She cried. It was really touching.
Us parents all stood in a line, and the teachers passed each of us parents and child. And this was our last chance to say something. This part was also a part where lots of tears happened. The secretary. Came to us and said...Out of all the kids from this class, I have known Noah the most I have watched Noah grow. Sh elaborated. She said, Branden used to take the bus, yours was the first stop we'd drive to each morning and the last stop each afternoon. Every morning, I'd see Noah strapped into his stroller eating a baby senbei, holding a sippy cup. waving at the bus or clapping at the bus...with just a few/couple teeth. I remember when he couldn't even say Branden's name..I smiled and shook my head and my tears flowed. I have a special place in my heart for Noah, I always will, for knowing him all this time. Noah hugged her and she hugged him back and my tears fell once more. I could see the Yayoi sensei coming closer, and I just didn't want to say good bye, I wasn't ready. And then she finally came to us. And she said, what she wanted to say and again my tears fell, I told her how important and special she is to us. Getting through this good bye part was...don't laugh but was emotionally hard. These people become a part of your day to day life. And now you won't be seeing them anymore. It's only natural to shed some tears. I mean unless you're like a robot or something. We had rented the bubble machine and the kids loved it. They jumped in it. And the teachers left amid the bubbles. : )
Noah and his classmates watching the bubbles. meanwhile you can see some in the back having their tearful goodbyess still.
One of the few last bunch of pics.
Again somepeople looking this way, some people looking the other way. That's just life though. : )
Then right before the teachers were to leave, someone shouted we forgot one last photo can you sensei's come back and take one more pic on the stage. @_@ And so they said sure. : )

Noah was standing near the Yuka-sensei talking with her earlier and she picked him up and sat him on her lap. She adored Noah. And him her. : ) Noah wanted a pic of him and the Yuka sensei in front of his Noah plate. : ) So the sensei's left, it was about 3:10pm or so. And then the yearbook ladies left. And it was time for the shaon kai to clean up. However the shaon kai members told me to leave. They said, "we know you are leaving to Honolulu tonight, you're schedule is so tight, please just go and we'll clean up" I said, no way, I still have time. Hey, I wasn't just gonna abandon them! We've come too far together, might as well finish with them as well. So, I quickly cleaned up. Every child could take their own plate as a keepsake. I started taking all the balloons and bluebirds down. We told each child you have have any balloons you wsnt. With everyone's help we were done by 3:45pm. I bowed and thanked them all, hugged a few. And, see ya later-ed Sera's mom.: ) They all shouted have a safe flight!!!! : ) And we left fast as lightning. Rush to get Branden from school immediately without delay he had to be picked up from the front of the building, that day. Or we'd miss our flight. We went home immediately. Noah switched clothes. Noboru out of his suit, me out of my dress and corsage, and heels. etc. Our suitcases had been packed days before. And we left. At 4:40pm, we had already droppped the car off at the car baby sitters and they gave us a ride to the airport. We had checked in quickly. And we bought Mc D's for the boys a veggie sub sandwich 6 inch form Subway for me, and inside the TSA and through immigration we went. And right near our gate.
Noah's diploma, with case, Branden got the same case. Candy lei.....
Laminated calendar.
Bouqeut of flowers.
Personalized umbrella.
Beautifully wrapped present from the school.

Branden got the same thing. And Branden's is sitting on his school desk.
This is in Noah's yochien box.
A classmate the week beforehand presented Noah with this.
Thanks for playing with me. : )
Each book for the actual graduation ceremony was personalized with a picture of each of our graduating child. Just everything extra bit of specialness was put into this special day. They really go the extra mile for graduation. : )
And each child also received a book. Congratulations Noah! : )